Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Rihanna's Work music videos – the five best moments

Rihanna has released two videos for the same song – but in truth, they’re both a bit boring – though there are some moments to savour thanks to dirty dancing

Pop stars love a long video these days. In fact, Rihanna’s last one – the MegaForce-directed, blood-soaked revenge fantasy for Bitch Better Have My Money – was more than seven minutes long. Most of Lady Gaga’s post-Bad Romance and pre-jazz videos were more like mini-movies than three minutes of product placement and a bit of a dance. So it’s hardly surprising that Rihanna’s new video for Work – the lead single from her eighth album Anti, featuring Drake – stretches out towards eight minutes. Rather than fill that time with unnecessary dialogue and some terrible acting, however, she’s simply just made two videos for the same song and plonked them back to back.

Unfortunately neither of them are terribly interesting – the first, directed by the handily-named Director X – finds Rihanna and some mates in a bar called the Real Jerk. It’s the sort of place where plastic cups are strewn on the floor, men open beer bottles with their teeth and there’s likely a long queue for the bathroom. Rihanna has a lovely time dancing to her own song in front of a mirror. Then she dances up against Drake, who doesn’t seem to mind at all. Then the song finishes and the second video starts, this time directed by Tim Erem, who loses points for not having his job title in his name. To be clear, it’s the same version of the song – there’s no remix, no guest features. Just Rihanna and Drake miming along again, this time in a venue decked out to look like your grandparents’ living room bleached under a pink strobe light.

If you were being charitable you could say the two videos were connected – the first one being the big night out and the second one being the post-club daze where you scramble around looking for come cereal before getting Uber delivery to bring you a pizza which you’ll eat cold the next morning. If you were being uncharitable, it’s as if the label commissioned two videos that both turned out a bit boring so they thought it might be a nice gimmick to have them play back to back.

Still, as with most pop videos there are some highlights. Five in fact.

In January 2014 rapper Cam’ron apparently sold his incredible pink fur coat – the one he nonchalantly wore while holding a matching pink flip phone in 2002 – for $75,000. The mystery of who brought it seems to have been solved, however, given that Rihanna sports a fairly similar one as she gets out of the car outside The Real Jerk. Disappointingly, Drake arrives wearing a grey hoodie.

In fact, Drake loves casual pants, doesn’t he? Not for him the restrictive denim of a new pair of jeans. No. He’d much rather let it all hang loose in a baggy sweater and some jogging bottoms, freeing him up for some rug-cutting that never quite matches the ridiculousness of his meme-ready Hotline Bling wedding moves (Director X also directed that video, so this is doubly disappointing).

The Real Jerk is a laid-back kind of place. Early on we see a flyer for tonight’s party which reads “call for reservations”. Unfortunately there’s no phone number. Basically, the vibe is “If people want to come that badly, they’ll find a way, you know what I mean.” They also don’t have a bottle opener, given that one poor man has to open his with his teeth (he makes it look easy, but I’ve seen people draw blood so think on). They also don’t insist on making you stand outside should you want to enjoy a nice menthol cigarette. At least that’s what I assume is being rolled by one of Rihanna’s good friends at the 40-second mark.

I don’t wish to be blunt here but Rihanna and Drake look as if they have had some pretty amazing sex. With each other, but also with other people. In the second video’s living room locale, they spend a lot of time looking at each other and smirking mischievously, like a couple waiting for the kids to drop off to sleep so they can have a kiss and a cuddle on the sofa. They also take turns to dance in front of each other, Drake sat in his cotton two-piece scratching his chin like he’s also wondering why a braless Rihanna’s been styled to look like Destiny’s Child circa Survivor.

If you look closely, there’s a bike parked next to one of the awful sofas. Concerned about theft, and perhaps without a small shed to keep it in, one of them has decided to risk the ire of the landlord and bring it inside. Fingers crossed it hadn’t been raining because that’s one carpet stain away from a lost deposit. Just looking out for you, multi-millionaires Rihanna and Drake!

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